Sunday, 17 October 2010


There is a feeling of holiday in our house as only child/teenager DS is away for a week on a school French exchange.  Of course, before we could actually get him away, we had the major trauma of discovering his passport had expired.  This was Wednesday night, and he was due to leave Friday morning.  I got straight on the internet and found you can pay through the nose for a four-hour turnaround premium service by appointment only, and the appointments line runs until 8pm so I managed to make one for Thursday.  DH took the day off work to get the passport application from the post office, fill it out including the photos we dragged DS out to get taken the previous evening, and travel over to my friend's office in west London to get her to countersign the application (thank god she is one of the specified professionals).  Then he shot up to London in time to keep the appointment - only to discover that he hadn't read the form properly and our son actually needed to sign it himself!  So I told DH to jump in a cab to the station, he got the train to a station near our son's school and grabbed another cab to the school.  I phoned the school to have our son waiting to sign it, then it was back in the cab to the station.  Only DH missed the return train.  At this point I was looking up flights to Marseilles and making arrangements with the school to fly our son there on a later day.  However, the passport office very kindly took the application in even though DH was late, and finally by 8:15pm Thursday night, we had a passport.  Whew!  And it 'only' cost about £200 in fees and taxi fares...  We felt extremely stupid for not checking earlier.

Anyway,  for a week I am off the treadmill of homework / meals / sharing my TV and computer etc.  I tried very hard to relax over the weekend but found I had an absurd but uncontrollable compulsion to use the extra time to catch up on chores around the house and garden.  I am also off tomorrow (Monday) and I am really going to try to just relax and do crafts all day, and not think about work, and not do any jobs! Wish me luck.

The little bit of TV knitting I did this week was on my Pumpkin Tea Cosy.  I am knitting two halves and will sew them together leaving gaps for the handle and spout.  These are six stitch cables interspersed with two purl stitches.  I decrease to four stitch cables near the top, then to one purl stitch, and then finally K2tog to pull it all in at the top.

Thursday night I felt fortunate to be one of the 60 Rowan members who responded in time to an email inviting us to attend a special members' night at Liberty's department store in celebration of Wool Week.  The email made it sound like more was going to go on than actually turned out to be the case.  The stated time was 6-9pm, but it didn't get started until 6:40pm, so 60 people were standing around with nothing to do for 40 minutes (although there was wine) and some of the people I chatted with gave up and left.  Eventually we were welcomed, and Erica Knight gave a talk for about 15-20 minutes about Wool Week and the Rowan partnership with a fashion college (the results of which were on display).  Martin Storey and Marie Wallin stood at the sidelines but didn't speak.  And that was it, except that we got a goodie bag.  The goodie bag is soft jute, and contained a felt sheep keyring (cute, but impractical in white), some leaflets, and a book of patterns 'The British Sheep Breeds Collection' from Rowan Purelife - which I have looked up and is a £7.50 value so not a bad gift.  Although I had to spend £3.60 on tube fares to attend the event.  Still, I did have two glasses of wine  :)

Remember the lace doiley I bought a few weeks ago at the antiques fair?  I finally had time to mend the broken threads, then I boiled it in detergent water for about 15 minutes.  It went from a mid-ecru colour to a satisfying pale cream colour.  Then I pinned it out which took about another 30 minutes.  No wonder these things went out of fashion, if you have to spend an hour on them every time someone spills a drink.  The peacock feathers are interspersed with fan shapes, which almost overlap.  I wonder if the fans were meant to be starched up into 3-D ruffled shapes?

I washed and blocked the Sock Wool Machine Knitted Vest and as I thought, it is too wide.  Turns out I am getting a tension of 30 stitches to 10 cm, which is different from my tension swatch, so I had cast on 182 stitches when I should have only cast on 165 stitches.  I'm not knitting the back again, so will compensate by knitting the front smaller, and seaming a few stitches in from the sides on the back piece.

It's almost 8pm and I haven't eaten supper yet because I (that's me) am not hungry - how blissful to be able to do what I want.

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